My DS is 9 +1 months and I went back to work full-time 6 weeks ago. I pump 2-3x at work and usually take home anywhere from 10-13 ounces for him for the next day while I'm away. Typically he will drink that; sometimes he will need a bit more from my freezer stash, or sometimes there is an ounce or two leftover. When I am home, he typically nurses every 1.5-2 hours during the day; he will usually wake 2x a night to nurse (and more often in the hour before he wakes up for the day). We cosleep.
I've noticed my supply is dipping. Just now, it had been 3 hours since I'd nursed him this morning, and I was only able to produce between 4-5 ounces from both sides (usually I could easily get 6, total, if not more, from my first pumping session). I did spend some time away from my son this weekend which I'm sure didn't help, but I've noticed the pumping sessions being less "fruitful" over the past 2 weeks.
He has never had anything to drink other than breastmilk and sips of water, and I am determined to continue to give him only breastmilk until he is 1 (don't want to supplement with formula for many reasons). In my ideal world, I'd be happy BFing him until he is 2 years old, and although he eats solids, he is still quite a nurser. So I'm not anticipating weaning any time soon and am following his lead.
My concern is that I don't know how many more months I will be able to pump enough for him to have during the workday w/o wanting more. My freezer stash is almost gone already (maybe 20 oz left?). I'm curious to know your thoughts on adding in goat's or cow's milk in addition to breastmilk bottles after my son turns 1. I want him to have breastmilk as long as he's willing and I can provide it, but I don't want to go crazy trying to squeeze out every extra ounce here and there; I already have a lot going on from day to day and don't want the added stress on myself, especially since he is an older baby.
Any recommendations on what I could do? I'm hesitant to start him on cow's milk in a few months but want to be sure he is getting enough milk either way. I just want to have a plan in mind in case my supply keeps dwindling. I'm hoping I can make it 2.5 more months pumping about 10 oz. for the workday.
A couple of brainstorming suggestions--my son is almost 2, still nursing, and I pumped until 13 months. We went through times when he was eating more than I could produce, and vice versa. So here are some things that worked for us.
1. Offer water to drink. If BM is both eating AND drinking, he may be able to satisfy his thirst with water.
2. Nurse right before you leave, if you don't already.
3. Offer more solids (maybe add a snack to the mix?)
4. Try some supply-boosters--this is oatmeal weather! Also, mother's milk tea.
We started using cows milk once I stopped pumping, but my son never really took to it. We also give him a decent amount of dairy in his diet--cheese and yogurt.
You are getting a lot of milk! Your baby is getting to the age you can start thinking about not pumping at all. He can eat solids while you are at work. He never needs to drink cows milk. After 12 months only 2 toddler size servings of milk or milk products are recommended. Your child would be nursing and eating foods that have cows milk. I have 3 adult sons and a 3 year old grandson and none of them have had a glass of cow's milk.
My DIL started back to work when my grandson was 10 months old and never pumped. My grandson weaned when she wanted to get pregnant when he was 2.5 years. Working moms can nurse 2 years or longer. It sounds like you are doing a great job with your baby! It takes a lot of dedication to pump.
: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons
Thank you for your replies. I may be jumping the gun, but my concern is that I WILL have to pump while at work, despite his age. He is nowhere close to being able to go the day without milk if I'm not there and just rely on solid food. Maybe this will change in the next 2.5 months, but it will shock me if he suddenly can do that before he is 1 years old. Right now he has decided that he will not eat solids unless he can feed himself, which is great, but I am at a bit of a loss as to what his grandmother can give him that he will feed himself (i.e., finger foods), so he'll usually eat chicken, blueberries, pasta spirals, since he can feed those to himself, and then she will try to feed him fruit if he will allow her to spoon feed him. Some days he will eat a little from the spoon, other days not much. I should probably ask on the other forums if anyone has any great finger-food ideas so that I can keep his interest in solids up.
But I digress. Basically, my point is that, though he is often eating several tablespoons of food a day, he is very very reliant on the milk and always drinks at least 9-10 oz. while I'm gone. I worry that I won't be able to keep pumping enough for him. I want him to wean himself and worry that he will have no choice but to just eat more solids, which in a way is fine because I know that is the direction he needs to go in. I just don't want to push a situation on him where there is just not enough milk if he is not ready for it to diminish yet, if that makes sense. I would prefer for him to not have to drink any other milk than my BM, but I don't want him to be forced into not drinking very much milk during the day because I can't produce it.
Can you pump a little extra on the weekends to give yourself a cushion on your stash? That might help with worrying about pumping, some (and I know how anxiety-inducing it can be to watch those ounces come out drip by drip).
By the time my son was 12 months old, he would only drink about 6oz or so per day (maybe less? I don't remember). He always did nurse at night a ton, so be prepared to add an extra nighttime snack in the mix! I think at this point, you maybe just have to wait and see how he is at 12 months.
You could consider reverse cycling of sorts.... Nursing a lot while you're home and overnight so that he can make it your workday on sips of water and/or milk and his solids. My DD is 8.5 months and I took a job about 2 weeks ago and she doesn't get milk while I'm gone. Not because we haven't tried - she just doesn't like that bottle at all! It is different though because I only work 5 hours at night - so I nurse her at 5, leave at 530, and she eats her dinner with some water around 6. Then she goes to bed at 7. I get home at 1130 and she wakes up to nurse.
I pumped and stored so much milk in fear that DD would drink more than I could keep up with pumping but as it turns out I have a freezer full of milk she doesn't really drink. She'll take a sip here and there from a cup but that's it (I've started storing some in 1 oz bags!). Btw where do you live? You can have my stash....
I agree with the posts about oatmeal and MMT. Oatmeal everyday really supports my supply when it dips. Also your son is about that age, plus you've returned to work, possibly you're getting your cycle back? That can cause supply drop. Do you pump after work? I know it sucks, but when I was working days with my first DS, when I made it back to him I'd nurse him and then pump AGAIN just for more milk and supply boosting.
As for solids he can feed himself.. my DD does good with scrambled eggs, cheerios, potatoes, steamed carrots, broccoli, green beans, apple slices, blueberries, cheese cubes. Remember that as he ups his solid intake, his milk intake will gradually decrease and maybe that is happening now, unrelated to your working/pumping?
Worst case if you DO lose your supply, I'd be wary of cow's milk too like you said. Goat's milk is most similar in composition to human milk and will be the only milk I'd introduce to my LO as a supplement if something should happen to our nursing relationship before age 2.
Whoa, this response is a messy ramble. Hope there's something in there that helps!
Sleepy, running, wife to DH 08/09 - Mama to DS 8/08 & DD 1/11
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. " - Japanese Proverb